MEGASTRUCTURE

Sarah Baltzinger & Isaiah Wilson

Megastructure, a duet created and performed by Sarah Baltzinger and Isaiah Wilson, is dance stripped to the bone. As it unfolds on a barren stage, lit up so brightly that nothing is hidden and engulfed in silence, our attention is fully focused on the dancers.

They start to contort with a childlike sincerity, at times seemingly getting tangled up in a knot, at one point crawling across the stage like larvae. Baltzinger and Wilson treat their body parts like objects and hoist themselves up as if controlled by invisible strings. They embrace, kiss, wrestle against each other and their physical limits. The positions they end up in regularly trigger fits of laughter from the audience.

Yet there is more to Megastructure than pantomime. There is a serious vulnerability to the mute struggle between desire and violence that is reminiscent of Jan Švankmajer’s playful animated film Passionate Discourse. The dancers’ puppet-like, rigid aloofness, coupled with a vast vocabulary of unique-looking movements, create a mesmerizing performance: often violent, at times whimsical, but always inventive.

Marína Srnka

Never trust programme notes. In the case of MEGASTRUCTURE, they warn, in ominous performance jargon, that Sarah Baltzinger and Isaiah Wilson set out to “deconstruct the traditional format of theatre and dance pieces.” Far from it, this charismatic duo actually does a lot of constructing on stage – twisting and intertwining their bodies into wacky shapes, with arresting results.

Sure, Baltzinger – an Amy Poehler doppelganger, down to the wry twinkle in the eye – flips on the stage’s worklights when she first enters, and MEGASTRUCTURE proceeds without performance lighting, in silence. But the push and pull between Baltzinger and Wilson is hardly unconventional: Their rubber-like physicality and deadpan delivery simply elevate it. They shuffle in unison on rolled ankles, tie themselves into knots of limbs, then untangle long enough to stare at us detachedly. “What does the audience expect in a performance?”, the two of them ask in the programme. For many, their level of physical craft will be a perfectly valid answer.

Laura Cappelle

On a bare stage, supported by nothing except their incredible range of physical ability, Sarah Baltzinger and Isaiah Wilson seem to deconstruct their own bodies – a feat only accentuated by the  absence of music and stage lighting.

Their eyes are locked on the audience in a deadpan gaze, while the rest of their body parts move in as many directions as seems humanly possible.

Sarah practically disjoints her own leg, holding it in her hand and shaking it before popping it back in place.

Isaiah flies across the stage out of nowhere, as if controlled by an outer force.

Sarah stares at us, unimpressed.

She pulls her socks up and seems to lift her own body into the air.

They control their own bodies like building sets, with unlimited combinations. 

As a contrast to the puppet-like ‘exercises’ that display a physicality verging on the impossible, an affectionate kiss is shared between them as they let go of the audience.

A metaphor for finding tenderness in an otherwise painful existence.

Ingeborg Zackariassen